Tallinn in the News April 2018

From Tallinn to Britain. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn joins the Free Public Transport Debate

As policy leaders around the World gather in Tallinn for the free public transport conference taking place next month, Britain’s Labour Party is weighing up the option of free public transport for the under 25s. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, plans to get rid of fares for 13 million young people if elected in the next election which is scheduled to take place by 2022.

In Estonia’s capital, Tallinna Linnatranspordi Aktsiaselts (TLT) was set up as public transportation company owned by the city specifically to administer free public transport.

In Britain, Labour is proposing similar schemes should be set up all over the country with free travel offered in areas where councils agree to either take bus or train services under public ownership or introduce a franchising model.

“We are pledging the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under-25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to visit friends,” Corbyn said.

The Labour Party in the UK is still in the early stages of developing the scheme which has come under heavy criticism from the Conservative government.
When free public transport was first introduced into Tallinn in 2013 it was also heavily criticised by the opposition parties. Five years later all parties see the merits of the scheme with new rolling stock, new hybrid buses and new tram lines being added against expectations.

The best way to keep up to date with information about free public transport is the participate in the conference “Free Public Transport for all Dream and reality” taking place 9-12 May 2018. Participants from all over Europe and the rest of the World will be at the conference.

Kadri Simson, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure will be the keynote speaker.

If you are interested in attending the conference contact Kalle.sepp@takk.ee GSM+372 5072505 for more information.

Kesklinn (Centre City) to remember “lost” Tallinn

Tallinn is perhaps the best preserved Old Town in Northern Europe but there are still a lot of buildings which were lost in the turmoil of the 20th Century. Now, a citizen-based initiative plans to commemorate those building which once stood in the Old Town but were destroyed.

Under the scheme “A hundred years here” proposals were gathered from the community to establish which places deserve to be remembered and where information should be put up.

Vladimir Svet, city district governor, who is leading the project, said community groups, flat owners’ association, historians and other local experts were all part of the decision making process.

“In the boundaries of the Centre City we will maybe find hundreds of interesting objects not only for the last century but also for previous eras which deserve to be mentioned,” Svet said

“Probably we will be able in the autumn to register for example dozens of interesting object information plaques which will give in words and in pictures an overview of the building that once stood in that place. Where possible we will store information gathered in another form,” Svet added.

“In summary, we must cherish celebrated places in with the message about what Tallinn city was like in 100 years ago.”

Tallinn stands by its Jewish Community 

Prime minister addresses conference

Tallinn recognised the important role the Jewish community has given to Estonian life and the mutual co-operation between Israel and Tallinn at the international conference 100.70.30

The 100 stands for 100 years of Estonian independence 70 stands for 70 years since the founding of Israel and 30 stands for the 30 years of since the rebirth of Jewish cultural life in Tallinn.

A hundred years ago, Estonia was the first country in the region to recognise the importance of Jewish cultural autonomy and even before re-achieving independence from the Soviet Union Tallinn revived Jewish life by opening the Jewish school and synagogue.

Despite the relatively small size of the Jewish community, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas was at the conference personally, as were other national and municipal leaders, to show support and give the keynote speech.

Ratas said his government was committed to promoting and nourishing Jewish life in Estonia and maintaining Estonia’s close friendship with Israel.
“After the war of independence when all our people fought for our independence, all our people including minorities who got culture autonomy,” Ratas said.

Alla Jakobson, chairman of the Jewish Community of Estonia argued that a strong independent Estonia was vital for a strong independent Jewish cultural life.

“The fate of Israel and Estonia are linked because we both know what it means to fight for our freedom,” she said.

Jakobson said her grandfather fought in the Estonian war of independence and when she went to Jerusalem her heart was full of pride, but Estonia is her country and she does not have another home.

Jews in Estonia have had difficult times under foreign occupation. During the first Soviet occupation from 1940–1941 all Jewish institutions were closed, and about 10 percent of the Jewish population was deported to detention centres in Siberia and elsewhere in the Soviet Union.

When the Nazis invaded the USSR, virtually the entire Jewish community in Estonia either fled the country or was murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their local henchmen. At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, Estonia was declared Judenfrei [free of Jews], the first country in Europe so classified.

After the war, some of the survivors returned, and their numbers were bolstered by Russian-speaking Jews from other parts of the Soviet Union. From 1944 until 1988, the Soviets did not allow the Estonian Jewish community to organize itself.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, all restrictions on Jews were cancelled and communal life was reactivated. In March 1988, the Jewish Cultural Society was established in Tallinn.

Today the Jewish community in Tallinn is very active with a synagogue, a school and a kindergarten partly funded by the city.

Spring Happenings in Tallinn 
Spring is here, and Tallinn will burst to life in its centenary year.
Here is a selection of some events over the spring and early summer.

Tallinn Day 
15 May 
For the 17th time, Tallinn day will take place with many cultural events. Tallinn day is to commemorate the city’s history as a mercantile centre. Tallinn obtained Lübeck city rights on that day in 1248 and became a member of the Hanseatic League, a proto EU trading block for the region. This year’s event will launch with a presentation from South Korea.

Kalamaja Days in Telliskivi Creative City

19-20 May 
This is a festival organized by the local community. There are dozens of events taking place – concerts, markets, kids event, guided tours, plays etc. Many of the otherwise closed courtyard open to the public.

TaDaa! Festival is an international festival of street artists.

06-17 June 
For two days, visitors can enjoy more than 40 hours of entertainment in the middle of the streets. An international selection of professional street musicians, acrobats and artists will perform high in the air, as will fire artists, dancers, and improv artists.

Tallinn Street Food Festival
09-10 June 2018 
More than 60 food and drink places are open at the festival – cafes and restaurants in Telliskivi Creative City. There will be food trucks, pop-up kitchens, and guest caterers from abroad.

Old Town Days
30 May 03 June 
The main venue of this traditional festival is the Old Town of Tallinn. The event, held since 1982, is celebrating the beginning of summer. The courtyards, squares, streets and coffee shops will fill with music, art and theatre becoming the venues for other activities. Visitors can peek into the courtyards of the Old Town and learn about the history of Tallinn through festive events.

Ballet School Gala 
28 May 2018 
Tallinn Ballet School Gala is a yearly end-of-the-season performance, where the young dancers perform both classical and contemporary pieces prepared within the course. The Gala also features the graduates of the classical dance course.